Thoughts on “Scream 3”

One of the issues with reviewing an entire series is that unless they vary the formula there isn’t much to say about it, as it pretty much ends up doing the same thing that it did in the previous movies.  Now, if there’s plot progression and the like — like you’d have in a real trilogy — then you can talk about how that progresses, but despite being called a trilogy “Scream 3” isn’t really a trilogy, as they themselves note while taking a shot at themselves having to invent a theme — around Sydney’s mother — for all the movies to share.  So it doesn’t have plot progression.  But unlike movies like “Friday the 13th” and “Nightmare on Elm Street” they don’t have different protagonists or scenarios either, which would give something new to talk about and would allow for a comparison of how the different protagonists and situations worked (for example, with “Nightmare on Elm Street” I was able to talk about how I liked Alice better than Nancy despite Nancy being the character the series was famous for).  Since these all involve Sydney, I can’t do that.  And she doesn’t really evolve over the movies, so I can’t talk about that (there’s an evolution in this movie, but that only relates to this one).  So it’s difficult to say much more about this movie other than to summarize its plot and say “It’s quite a lot like the previous one”.

The basic premise of the movie is that Sydney has quite reasonably become a recluse after having a bunch of people try to kill her.  Meanwhile, another movie based on the murders is being made, and someone associated with it gets killed (he was the suspected murderer from the first movie).  The killer then keeps killing off the new cast, and a number of people spend a lot of effort trying to get Sydney to come out of hiding.  She eventually and is attacked, and it all culminates with a plot line around how Sydney’s mother was trying to be an actress and so had an entire hidden life before marrying her father, which resulted in a child that she gave up for adoption and rejected later because he was the result of rape, and so he arranged for the killers from the first movie to start their killing spree and is now going to frame Sydney for the murders, which makes him retroactively responsible for all the killings, which is a retcon that the movie, as usual, lampshades, but of course Sydney kills him and becomes less reclusive at the end, while the reporter and deputy from the first movie who were in the second movie as well are going to get married.

I do find that this movie is pretty much in line with the second movie.  The parody and humour is toned down but is still present, but it again is far more of a standard horror movie than anything innovative or special.  That being said, the movie also seems to hit the notes it wants to hit fairly well and has some funny scenes — there’s a great one with Carrie Fisher — but no more so than, again, a standard horror movie.  It even, somehow, manages to share having its action scenes at times be boring with the second movie.  If someone had been tired of the “Scream” formula as reflected in the second movie, this movie wasn’t going to break them out of it and would probably make them start to get tired of that formula, as it shares the good and bad points of the second movie and is a bit more contrived in order to be able to claim that it was a trilogy (although that is lampshaded and is possibly intentional).

Given that, though, I still found the movie to be serviceable, especially compared to the other horror movies that I’ve been watching.  While it’s not perfect and has flaws, in general it seems to know roughly what it wants to do and does it reasonably competently.  Again, that’s good enough to get the movie into my closet to rewatch even if it wasn’t in the same pack as the other two “Scream” movies.  I do think the first one was better, but the second and third are good enough to rewatch.

After watching this one, I was poking around and found the fourth “Scream” movie for $5, so I picked it up.  I hope to talk about that one next week.

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